UNRWA funding halted due to ethics scandal

August 15, 2019
Belgium joins group of European countries in suspending funds to UNRWA pending ethics investigation

Palestinians receive UNRWA food aid in southern Gaza

Yumna Patel reports in Mondoweiss:

Another European country has announced a halt in funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), bringing the total to three states to take such measures in the wake of an ethics scandal facing the organization.

Following the actions of both Switzerland and the Netherlands, Belgium announced on Thursday that it was temporarily suspending its financial contributions to the agency over an internal ethics report leaked to the press last week.

Citing alleged ethical misconduct within the UNRWA administration, specifically the “inner circle” of the agency’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, the report has thrown the embattled agency into further financial crisis, with the US and Israel jumping on the opportunity to reiterate their criticism of the agency. 

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UNRWA provides crucial services, ranging from healthcare and education to work programs and food assistance to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees across the occupeid Palestinian territory and the Middle East.

With services and jobs provided by the organization already in decline for years due to lack of finances, UNRWA took its biggest hit in 2018 when the US, its biggest donor, pulled all of its funding, citing the Trump administration’s “concerns” over the agency’s model.

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